Most of the products sold in the Single European Market are required to carry a CE marking, regardless of whether they were imported to or produced in the EU. The CE marking is affixed to a product by either the manufacturer (if the product was made in the EU) or the importer (if it was produced elsewhere). CE means 'Communauté Européenne' (European Community) and indicates that the respective party has successfully assessed the goods for compliance with European safety standards. Issuing this self-declaration also makes the manufacturer or importer legally responsible for assuring the goods actually conform to the requirements for affixing the CE marking.
Products with CE marking are also to be accompanied by a signed Declaration of Conformity (DoC) stating that the goods comply with the applicable EU safety standards. The DoC provides information on:
- the name and address of the manufacturer as well as of his representative in the EU, if the goods were produced outside the EU,
- the product (brand name, serial number, etc.),
- the signing company representative (name and position).
Each EU member state has appointed 'market surveillance' authorities to make sure the CE marking is used properly and that CE marked goods are indeed safe for consumers. If products anywhere in the EU are found to be dangerous for consumers, the finding is published on the EU's rapid alert system for dangerous consumer products (RAPEX) and/or on the European Market Surveillance System (ICSMS) and instantly made available to both the supervisory organizations for CE marking and to consumers worldwide. It is therefore in the company's best interest to both prevent safety issues from occurring and to quickly provide remedy (warning the public and authorities about and/or recalling the items) when they do happen.